It is almost here. In about two weeks, baseball’s elite will gather in Cooperstown for the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend to welcome the three newest members Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Pat Gillick.
The list of returnees was released on Tuesday and includes: Henry Aaron, Luis Aparicio, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Wade Boggs, George Brett, George Brett, Lou Brock, Jim Bunning, Rod Carew,Orlando Cepeda, Andre Dawson, Bobby Doerr, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Ford, Goose Gossage, Tony Gwynn, Doug Harvey, Rickey Henderson, Whitey Herzog, Reggie Jackson, Fergie Jenkins, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Bill Mazeroski, Willie Mays, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Eddie Murray, Phil Niekro, Jim Palmer, Tony Pérez, Gaylord Perry, Jim Rice, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt, Red Schoendienst, Tom Seaver, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Don Sutton, Earl Weaver, Billy Williams, Dick Williams, Dave Winfield and Robin Yount.
Induction Weekend will take place from July 22 to 24, with the ceremony at 1:30 p.m . at the Clark Sports Center Sunday, July 24. Severe weather would force cancellation of the event.
According to a media release, seating is free and unlimited and the ceremony is expected to last around two hours. The ceremony will be televised live on MLB Network, broadcast nationally on Sirius XM Radio Home Plate Channel 175 and will be available via a Web cast at www.baseballhall.org.
On Saturday, July 23, the new Hall of Fame awards presentation will be held at 4:30 p.m. at Doubleday Field, where the returning Hall of Famers will gather on stage to honor the 2011 award winners. Longtime play-by-play announcer Dave Van Horne will receive the Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions to baseball broadcasting; Philadelphia Daily News national baseball columnist Bill Conlin will receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing; and veteran baseball executive Roland Hemond will receive the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. Admission to both the July 23 Awards Presentation and the July 24 Induction Ceremony is free.
Gates will open at 4 p.m. for the 4:30 p.m. program, which is expected to last an hour, according to the release.
Singer and songwriter Terry Cashman will perform on the 30th anniversary of his baseball classic, Talkin’ Baseball.
Following the awards presentation, the Hall of Famers and Award winners participate in the Parade of Legends at 6:30 p.m. They will ride down Main Street in trucks provided by Ford Motor Co.
Family activities are scheduled throughout the Hall of Fame Weekend. They include:
• Play Ball with Ozzie Smith - special guests Rod Carew, Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog: Ozzie Smith will return in a fundraiser for the Hall of Fame’s education and public programs with an opportunity for fans, featuring fellow Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog. This two-hour event features interaction at each station with a living legend and includes special mementos.
Spaces are limited to 40 participants.
The donation is $600 per person, with Hall of Fame members admitted for $450. To reserve a spot, call 547-0397.
• Hall of Fame Spotlight Series: The brand new Hall of Fame Spotlight Series will feature discussions about writers and broadcasters, managing the game, the art of pitching and the rare combination of power and speed. Several Hall of Famers are scheduled to appear in programs throughout the day, with guests to be announced soon. The Spotlight Series is free and open to the public. Festivities will take place at from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at Doubleday Field.
• Voices of the Game: Inductee Memories: The Hall of Fame’s newest members, Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Pat Gillick, participate in a Voices of the Game event. This event is for members only and tickets are currently available by visiting the membership desk in the museum or by calling 547- 0397. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and younger. The event will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday at the Clark Sports Center.